Jan 27, 2015

Perfect Day

Today was simply beautiful. Part of the reason it was so great was that Ben and I didn't have the car so there was no easy way to get out of the house. Most of the time I feel rushed. Like we have too much going on. So today we just chilled at home; a much needed staycation.

Ben started off the day by making cakes with blankets and airplane wings in bowls. We cackled together as we ate it like monsters. That inspired us to make real cake! Which we did, of course. Then we ate it -  like civilized people - after lunch. Ben also made bean muffins today (he's obviously on a cooking spree!). In case you don't know how to make bean muffins here is the recipe:
1. pour dry pinto beans into bowl
2. stir
3. evenly disperse beans into muffin tins
4. put them in the oven (under the couch cushion)
5. enjoy!
There you have it.

Benjamin also potty trained like a pro today. He is sporadically motivated by the promise that once he is potty trained he can ride a real train. He will pee in the potty when asked though he has yet to poo. He likes being dry and clean but will definitely pretend he is to avoid a diaper change!

The laundry basket served multiple functions today. Once it was clear of dirty laundry it became an airplane in which Ben flew (aka was carried around by yours truly) around the house crashing into various objects. Later it was kitty's home from which she "escaped" several times - we bribed her back with treats, never fear.

Ben also watched a few episodes of Dinosaur Train - his new favorite TV show. I'm thrilled with this development because I like having a child who likes dinosaurs (as opposed to be terrified of them! which he was only a few weeks ago). This opens up a whole new world to us! I found some dinosaur toys at a consignment sale recently. In the set are dinosaurs resembling a Lambeosaurs, a Pteranodon, and a T-Rex. All of those feature prominently in the Dinosaur Train so Ben acts it out as we watch :). He also knows the first episode (of season 2) well enough that he says the lines with the characters. I could just gobble him up, I swear.

Nap time happened today too. See, I told you this day was perfect. Ben snuggled up all "nice and cozy" in a "nest" under his bed. Yes, he has been sleeping under his bed for a few weeks now. It actually works out to my advantage because I threaten to make him sleep on top of his bed if he comes out of his room. This has made going to bed at nap time and night time a breeze. Speaking of bed time, part of our routine is to read scriptures. He is very vocal about not reading out of the real scriptures. We fought him on it for months until we tried the Children's picture scriptures - you know which one I'm talking about - and he loves it! He actually is remembering what happened and knows some names. I'm so impressed!

After nap we walked to the park. Ben led the way narrating whether we were on the sidewalk or on the road because the other was too muddy, or branches were blocking the way, or we had to go around a car, or a car was coming. It was freezing so the park wasn't as much fun as it usually is. Nonetheless, Ben still didn't want to come home! I bribed him back with treats, never fear.

I love days like this. I thank God for my beautiful child and my happy life. 

Mar 26, 2014

Important things

I didn't realize motherhood would... 
be so tedious.
require this much cleaning.
take over my identity.
make my boobs sag. 
mean relishing nap time.
be so messy.
drain me so completely.
compete for my husband's time.
close off some friendships and open up others.
mean managing incredible pressures from all sides.
make me decide which important things are more important.
blur some lines and sharpen others.
make me look young and naive to others.

I couldn't possibly have known...
I would memorize all of the Robin Hood Disney movie in a month.
it'd be so easy to fill my days, and so much harder to slow life down.
how much love my heart can hold.
how many pictures I can take and how many more I wish I had taken.
how many trips we'd take to the library.
my husband would make my job that much easier.
that my faith and trust in God would go through spontaneous, tremendous growth spurts.
that I'd still have plenty of time for myself.
the value of primary songs.
that I would ever appreciate the mundane things.
how closely I'd be watched.

I still don't know
my breaking point.
how much more I can love.
how many cries I'll comfort.
if I'm doing it right.

but I do know
I'm not alone.
this is what I want to be doing.
this is what I'll want to be doing.
this is worth it.
I will make it happen.

Dec 3, 2013


Benji is a good sleeper, but who likes actually going to sleep? Once in his crib, Benjamin will ask for his favorites: milk please, berries please, candy please... before he'll accept his fate and go to sleep. He also has noticed the stars on his ceiling and wall and loves for us to "charge" a couple that he can sleep with. We always sing "now the day is over" (this is how Doug and I sound :)...) and pray together. Even if Ben is upset and screaming while we sing he sometimes stops just for the duration of the prayer, haha. It's so cute how he folds his arms and bows his head (usually only for the first part) and he's so proud of himself! During the day he will randomly stop what he's doing, pretend to pray and make sure I'm watching. Aye, I love this kid. He's such an obedient and eager to please little soul.

I think I've mentioned before that Ben really likes playing in the car. He never fails to push buttons (mine and the cars!). Three times this last month I haven't noticed that he turned on the small overhead lights in the car. So... three times this month we woke up to a dead battery. You'd think I would have learned by now.

Doug, for one, is counting down until December 15th when Ben will be 18 months and old enough for nursery! Lately they've been wandering the halls and looking at paintings of Jesus (aka, playing with a basketball in the gym) ;).

We just spent a week in Asheville where Benji perfected playing independently. Now that we're home he is content to play by himself most of the day as long as I read him a book here or there and take him on an outing and feed him food. I have to say, it is a great thing when I can make dinner and peek over at Ben on the floor building a tower of legos. Not to say he doesn't like his tv -  Thomas, Tow Mater, and Baby Einstein are his go-to shows.

Well, I think that's enough for now. We're just chugging along.

Words Benjamin says/signs*... note that most of these words he doesn't actually say, but he has his own sound/hand combination specific to that word. That counts, right?

car* (vroom)
owl (hoo)
thank you*
I love you*
berry (blue/ras/black) *
uh oh

Oct 7, 2013

Eliza Lucas Pinckney

You've heard of Abigail Adams, Deborah Franklin, and maybe Mercy Warren, but do you know Eliza Pinckney? She is the mother to two Founding Fathers which twice qualifies her as a Founding Mother. Also, she has spunk. Lots of it. I want to tell you about her because I've decided I'm naming a daughter after her - she's that inspiring!

As a brief disclaimer, everything I've learned about her has come from the book Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts pages xvii to 12. I wish there were more pages about her! Still, this book is fabulous and if you have an ounce of feminism or patriotism in your blood you should go read it right now.

Have you read it yet? Well because I know you haven't I'll proceed to tell you about my new hero, Eliza.

Eliza moved to South Carolina with her family in 1734 where they had three plantations. Her father, George Lucas, left for Antigua to fight against the Spanish. That left Eliza, (age sixteen!!) in charge of all family (sick mother, toddler sister) and business affairs. She kept her father apprised, of course, and from those letters we learn so much about her.

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:

"...by rising very early I find I can go through much business." (p.2)
"I am sorry I can't have sentiments favorable enough of him to take time to think on the subject...and beg leave to say to you that the riches of Peru and Chile if he had them put together could not purchase a sufficient esteem for him to make him my husband." (p.3) !! Take that!
"... tis' weak to complain." (p.9)

Those three plantations were not enough to satisfy her lust for learning, business, success, and what have you. She taught her sister and slaves to read and write, she was a lawyer for her neighbors, and most noteworthy of all, she envisioned and executed business endeavors which essentially made South Carolina valuable to England. Her largest scheme involved growing indigo to supply Europe with dye for their blue military uniforms. Talk about ambition! She overcame poor crops, insubordinate business partners, and mocking neighbors. After years of effort, her indigo grew to her satisfaction. And do you know what she did with her harvest? She distributed it - yes! to those same neighbors who mocked her effort and previous failures - so they could produce enough indigo to gain the attention of England. By 1747, she did just that. Just so you have an idea of how large her indigo export really was, one biographer mentioned that one year they shipped 1,107,660 pounds. That's a lot of indigo!

What impresses me most is her confidence. She first had the gumption to start her own business, knowledge about the economy, the foresight and dedication to persevere despite serious setbacks and humiliation. She exemplified humility by then sharing her success with all of South Carolina, the very people who humiliated her determination.

Don't think for a minute that she was satisfied with indigo, but you'll have to read Cokie Roberts' book to learn of her other business endeavors.

She married and had children as well (who go on to be quite important as you well know). It doesn't surprise me for a minute that she resolved "To make a good wife to my dear husband...to make it my study to please him. I am resolved to make a good child to my mother... I am resolved to be a good mother to my children..." (p.7). I love that her resolutions echo my own because then I can hope to emulate her in more ways than one.

Eliza was loving, intelligent, sincere, industrious, upright, and sometimes sassy. She is a great role model for youth, new mothers, aspiring entrepreneurs, experienced wives, and even grieving widows. I wish, alongside the great men who shaped this country, I had learned of her too.

Sep 27, 2013


A year ago my mom bought me some sprouting seeds and these sprouting jar tops:

I tried once and failed. I really don't know how I messed up because this is honestly the easiest way to garden in the world! Well I decided to give sprouting a second chance and signed up for a workshop at the Women's day my church put on. Julie taught me everything I needed to know to start and I'll share that with you because I think this is the coolest thing ever (and she said we can/should spread the word). So, are you ready?!

You'll need a wide mouth quart jar with tops (you can substitute these plastic tops with cheesecloth) and sprouting seeds. You already have everything else! Julie bought her seeds at http://www.handypantry.com/ but ye of little faith can buy them in smaller quantities at local health food stores.

Now that the hard part is done...

1. Put 3 tbps of seeds in your jar, fill it with tepid water, screw the lid on (mostly so that if it gets knocked over by a careless child you don't lose all your seeds!)
2. Soak overnight. (12 hrs)
3. The next morning, drain the jar.

2-3 times a day for 3-4 days or until ready to eat
1. Rinse the seeds by filling the jar with water, swirl everything around, and drain.
2. Prop upside down at an angle into a tupperware (so excess water drains).
3. Cover with cloth.
4. Place by your sink so you remember to do it again!
*Start with the yellow top so the seeds don't fall out as you rinse. Progress to the green and red tops as your sprouts grow. Then the seed hulls will be washed out as you rinse.

step 2

step 3

Once your seeds are sprouted to satisfaction, you can place them in indirect sunlight so they develop chlorophyll and look all green and pretty. Then don't forget to refrigerate them! You can eat these in salads, sandwiches, stir fry, or even from the jar - but that's a little lazy... Seriously guys, this takes less than a minute a day! I'm hardly an expert, so check out these guys, or these guys, if you want more detailed and cumbersome instructions.

This one jar is enough for the two of us for a week!

There are alfalfa, cabbage, lentil, mung, radish, wheat berry, garlic, soybean, sunflower, garbanzo, pea, kale, rye, brown mustard, spelt, clover, peanut, broccoli, chia, adzuki, kamut, buckwheat, wheatgrass, onion, and fenugreek seeds. And those are the only ones I've heard of! Plus any combination of seeds. So which kind do you buy? I can recommend lentil, alfalfa, adzuki, garbanzo, mung, and green pea. Radish is a little too spicy for me, though if it's in a combo, I don't mind it so much. My favorite combos are the protein powerhouse and the crunchy lentil fest from handypantry. The one pictured above is the 3 part salad mix - broccoli, alfalfa, and radish - it's great too.

An experiment in frugality
Did I mention this is quite inexpensive? Stores sell sprouts at $.50-$.90 an oz. I just made about 9 ounces of sprouts from 1 ounce of seeds (3 TBSP). That would range from $4.50 to $8.10 at a store. Let's say you buy a 16oz bag of this 3 part salad mix from handypantry; just the one bag because you're a little hesitant. Well, it costs 9.99 and shipping is 8.53 (so I recommend you buy more to make your shipping more worthwhile! but just bear with me...) so that comes to $18.52. That's $1.15/oz of seeds or $0.13 for an oz. of sprouts. So even though you essentially doubled the cost buy paying shipping (which you wouldn't do in real life, because you would buy more than just one bag, right?), you're still at a fifth of the cost of what you would pay in the store!

Let's summarize and assume you're buying more than just one bag AND paying for shipping:
Store: $0.50-$0.90/oz of sprouts or $4.50 to $8.10 for this jar of sprouts
You: $0.07-$0.13/oz of sprouts or $0.70 to $1.15 for this jar of sprouts

If you're still reading and you're not convinced
This is fabulous food storage. Think about it. Fresh food storage. There is no such thing. Oh, but here it is! Fresh, nutritious produce in 4 days. "Just add water."

Okay, I think I'm a little too excited, I'm going to sign off now.

Sep 13, 2013

Consignment sale finds

In addition to serially raiding the public library book sale, I like to go consignment sale hopping. Here's the loot from this consignment sale:

The cute black and white shoes were the most expensive ($10), then the car race track ($7). Everything else was under $5 and it cost me only $0.50 for all the cars!

I got Percy (the train) because Ben is going through this Thomas the train phase. He'll bring me the TV remote and sign "car" at least several times a day. I better find a better hiding place for the remote!

Benjamin is going to be so happy when he wakes up from his nap :).

Sep 3, 2013

Well this is what happens when you lose your camera: no pictures. Go figure. Combine that with summer laziness and you get a lapse in updates for which I'm sure you've been sitting on the edge of your seat!

The first big piece of news is that Maria got married to Jeff (hooray!) and they are now living in Wymount in the same apartment that our best friends lived in. Hah! So we've eaten more dinners, played more wii, and generally spent more time in their apartment than they have so far. Wild, right?

Secondly, while we were in Spokane celebrating their marriage, Ben decided to walk. Don't be surprised when you see him crawling though, it's still his favorite mode of transportation. [I would love to show you the video we have of him but I can't get blogger to post it - help, anyone?? Meanwhile, see facebook.] In other news, Benjamin is still as adorable as ever. His hair is getting a little unruly but he has made it quite clear that the clippers are not getting within 3 feet of him. So that's a no-go. Hopefully his hair just stops growing until he can be reasonable?

He also speaks and signs. It's adorable how thrilled he is to communicate with us. We are constantly amazed at how quickly he is becoming a kid instead of a baby. In case you're interested, and especially if you're not, here's a list of the words he says (*signs):
  • mama
  • dada
  • aus (I want that)
  • vroom
  • *more
  • *ball
  • *all done
  • *milk
So we are having so much fun. He absolutely loves steering wheels, things on wheels, and balls. His favorite things to do are go on walks in his stroller, go swimming, and chase/get chased by Doug. He hates church and restaurants (correction: sitting while in church or at restaurants).

Doug started school again. His research is going well (though not as quickly as he would like) and he always finds time to play with Ben, eat dinner with us, and help around the house (most of the time anyway...).

I'm busy entertaining Ben (and teaching him how to entertain himself so I don't have to work so hard!), reading tons, and working 6 hrs a week babysitting/cleaning houses. Side note: PLEASE go on goodreads and add me as a friend. I'd love to know what you're reading and especially what you think of the books you read. I'm seriously on there once or twice a week; I've made a goal to read 50 books this year and I'm on track to make it. Plus, book club starts next Tuesday *squeal.* I'm also starting a ballet class which starts this Saturday.

I'm a little worried I'm busying myself too much so I'm going to have to actually try to stay home or we'd be leaving the house every day - and that's just exhausting. In that spirit, you might not see another blog post for a while...so here's to not over-exerting myself!